Welcome to Ribbonfarm. This blog is devoted to refactored perception. That’s not exactly a helpful phrase, but think of it as an ongoing exploration of new perspectives for familiar things. The easiest way to get oriented is to dive right in.

  • We are currently in the Snowflake Age of Ribbonfarm (2013 – ). Here are annual roundups for 2015, 2014 and 2013.
  • If you are a gestalt type, check out the ribbonfarm map and accompanying video editorial.
  • If you are interested in ancient history, here is a quick introduction to The Rust Age of Ribbonfarm (2007-2012), covering the first 5 years.
  • If you want some reading inspiration, check out the Now Reading page, where we track what we are reading.



Ribbonfarm is a longform blog devoted to unusual takes on familiar themes. What we call “refactored perception.”

Venkatesh Rao serves as Executive Editor. Sarah Perry serves as Contributing Editor. We also feature a rotating cast of invited *residents, and guest contributors.

*David Manheim

About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat started writing ribbonfarm in 2007. His other writing includes Tempoa book about decision-making, and two ebooks, Be Slightly Evil and The Gervais Principle. He is also the creator of the Breaking Smart binge-reading site and email newsletter. His writing can also be found at Aeon magazine, The Atlantic, Information Week and Forbes. He lives in Seattle.

About Sarah Perry

Sarah began contributing to Ribbonfarm in 2015, and serves as Contributing Editor. She also blogs at The View from Hell. She is also the author of Every Cradle is a Gravea book about the ethics of birth and suicide. She is based in Reno. 

About the name…

The name ribbonfarm refers to the ribbon farms of 18th century Detroit — strips of lands 2-3 miles long, each with 2-300 yards along the Detroit river waterfront — that the then French governor used to resolve water disputes. I thought it was a great metaphor for a blog trying to get its thin slice of attention from the great river of eyeballs that is the Web. Here is a picture (courtesy, Detroit Public Library) of an 1818 map of Detroit that shows the ribbon farms.

About the tag-line

Experiments in refactored perceptions is a geek joke. It refers to changing how you see the world by trying to rewire the software inside your head through writing.


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